Our intrepid beat reporters are providing valuable roster information again today. First, this tweet from MLB.Com’s Adam McCalvy:
Jimmy Nelson is up to 105 feet in his throwing program. The next step, 120, is an important one, and he will stay there for a few weeks. There’s hope of getting him back on a mound in the second half of April.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 23, 2018
I gotta tell ya, getting Nelson on a mound in late April makes a dream of his return in mid July seem almost realistic. That’s three months of rehab and minor league starts. Of course, there can be set-backs and delays along the way, but this is the most positive news about Jimmy yet.
As you recall, Nelson was stepping up as the Brewers’ ace last September, even considering the fine season Chase Anderson was turning in. Before losing the remainder of his break-out season with a shoulder injury, Nelson posted a 12-6 record in 29 starts, working 175 1⁄3 innings and striking out 199 batters. His WHIP came in at 1.25, and he posted an ERA of 3.49 (FIP of 3.05). He even had a complete game.
If Nelson could return anywhere near that form the Brewers’ rotation would get an upgrade better than any trade they could make, and it wouldn’t cost them any of their current assets. Even if he isn’t quite as good as last season he could make a significant impact on a possible playoff run.
Milwaukee will likely take it slow on getting Nelson ready to pitch. He has a bright future, and it would be dangerous to risk his future health on a 2 1⁄2 month run this season. Still, any contribution he could make would be a major boost to both the performance and the morale of the team.
A note on Wade Miley:
Tom Haudricourt of JSO reports on Miley:
The #Brewers plan with Wade Miley is to get him healthy, then pitch once or twice on minor league rehab. Then it will be decision time on adding him to major league roster.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 23, 2018
Along with reports that Miley is 2-4 weeks out before he can even begin throwing again, we are looking at a one to two month process to see if he will get the chance to contribute to the Brewers this season. If he can’t progress enough to come to the major leagues right away (or if there is no need for a starter in the rotation at that time), perhaps he would accept a spot in the minors to prep for a call-up rather than go back out on the market as a free agent.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference